Twitter Joke Trial

Twitter Joke Trial

I don’t normally write blogs about current affairs because I rarely feel that I know enough about the issue to make judgements on it or voice a proper opinion. 
But in this case, I feel that the situation is so obviously ludicrous that no right-thinking person in full possession of the facts could possibly think any differently to the majority.
I refer of course to the Twitter Joke Trial. I was reading various Internet articles about it yesterday and getting more horrified by the minute as the facts of the case emerged.
For those who don’t know the full story, see this article for the basic facts:
http://m.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/11/twitter-joke-trial-appeal-verdict?cat=uk&type=article

There are many disturbing factors in this case, but I just want to mention a couple of things. First, WHY has there not been more widespread reports of this in the media? Perhaps it is silly of me to expect non-twitter users to be as outraged as I am, but I’m willing to bet that if this incident had occurred through facebook rather than twitter, there would have been a much bigger hoohah about it – facebook apparently being a hot media topic right now. After ranting about this, one of my followers tried to reassure me that the case was at least featured in Australian newpapers. Australia, for crying out loud, but not in the UK, where it actually happened! Thank god for the power of social media, which has meant that #twitterjoketrial and #IAmSpartacus have become top trending topics and people like me have been made aware of the outrageous judgement and sentencing made on a one poor sod who made a not-very-amusing-but-still-harmless joke on twitter. 
Twitter – the very name of the website (as Stephen Fry has already pointed out) suggests that it is full of inconsequential nonsense: silly puns, dull pronouncements about the minutiae of people’s lives – of course there is mention of serious and important stuff too, but that’s not really what twitter’s about. Several times I have read media articles that take the piss out of twitter and it’s users FOR THAT VERY REASON.
It worries me that the judge apparently had to have twitter explained to her and clearly either deliberately misunderstood the purpose of the website or was given a rather poor description of it.
It also bothers me that the BBC censored the original tweet so heavily that it does actually look more “menacing” than one might imagine. Why, for christ’s sake?
But mostly it disturbs me deeply that a silly joke made on ANY medium (tv, print, internet or spoken word) can provoke such a hysterical reaction on the part of the British judicial system. I would very much like to hear Judge Davies defend her actions, because I really cannot think for the life of me what kind of crackpot person/place she is getting her ideas from. The fucking verdict is far more “menacing” than the original tweet, and if she can’t see that, her position as a judge needs to be seriously reconsidered.

*Apologies for any glaring typos by the way, just typed this on my phone, so haven’t properly proofread it.

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